Tag Archives: feral goats

2nd Annual Challenge of Travel Blog Hop

DSCN4354I had no idea what a blog hop was when I signed up for Erin Prais-Hintz’s 2nd Annual Challenge of Travel. (Read about what I blame her for here!) Fortunately she gives you all the information you need.  To date my limited involvement with challenges have been somewhat guilt inducing.  My FlickR 12 Polymer Projects in 2013 is flickering (but not extinguished) with the exhibition, lots of Samunnat stuff and just life in general (next year Elvira I promise I will be better organised!)  I was attracted by Erin’s first Travel Challenge but was in Nepal DSCN4343and preoccupied at the time.  I loved the Nepal inspired necklace she produced for it and determined to participate when I could.

Our challenge was to create a piece inspired by home and for me right now home is Broken Hill-a remote, hot, dusty mining town that they call the gateway to the Outback. It is the BH in the massive mining conglomerate BHP.  This was a timely challenge to respond to my adopted home, to try to convey something of the arid beauty and vastness that I find very special.  I envisioned an intricately caned piece, inspired by some of Carol Simmons beads pictured here andTidepool featured in PCD many years ago.  As often happens though, life suggested other priorities and I had to change the game plan to maintain equanimity.  Erin told me to have fun and I knew I would have more fun by having realistic expectations of what could be achieved.

DSCN4345During the month of the Challenge, the weather warmed and the wonderful desert wildflowers began to bloom…amongst the grey greens of the saltbush we saw vibrant purple solanum flowers with their crown like yellow centres, a steadily growing carpet of white and mauve brachycombs, blood red patches of the flamboyant yet elusive Sturt Desert Pea, yellow blooms I don’t know the name of and unbelievably delicate and beautiful wild magenta violets.  Some mornings I run out on a road to our Living Desert and see only no other people or houses but groups of kangaroos and the occasional emu.  The kangaroos look magnificent as they bound along, inspiring the weary runner. The arrival of two boisterous dogs in our lives meant walks inExif_JPEG_PICTURE the scrubby bush (or bushy scrub) became commonplace.  An early Spring unfolded. It’s not a soft Spring in the outback.  There is still a harshness…the big blue sky, red sandy tracks, bleached skeletons of animals that DSCN4402didn’t survive the conditions; rusting sheets of corrugated iron, stones of so many hues, some flecked with mica, glistening.  I wanted to somehow get the essence of that in the necklace I made.

So, here it is.  Complete with rusted metal, solanum blooms, gum leaves, bleached faux twigs and stones all made from polymer; real bones; a beautiful ammonite fossil to convey the agedness of my continent; and some goat poo (that’s polymer!) in a rueful acknowledgement of the introduced species that are causing havoc to wildlife.  My mum wore this necklace to the opening of the exhibition I have been relentlessly banging on about and she lovedDSCN4409 it which was good enough for me!

Erin, thanks for this wonderful challenge. I am really looking forward to seeing the responses of all the other participants to their homes.  Hello to you all from here!

Mutawintji and Monday

Gosh, it got to be Monday again fast.  Saturday was Australia Day and I must confess to mixed feelings about it.  There’s been a lot of flag waving and I don’t DSCN3282like our current flag.  When we are a republic, I look forward to waving one that more clearly reflects our independence.  One without a Union Jack.  I love the Southern Cross though so we can keep that bit.  Australia Day commemorates the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the moment of sovereignity of Britain over the country.  Not such a great moment for our indigenous population as it turned out and there have been other names for Australia Day including a Day of Mourning, Invasion Day and Survival Day.  All reflecting elements of truth.  Whatever it is called, and even though there are genuine attempts to include EVERYONE in the celebrations, I am not a flag waver at the best of times. The patriotism can descend into racism and bigotry.  And unfortunately, in the past it sometimes has.

Out here, a spell of cooler weather meant we could head to Mutawintji National Park just under 150 kms away, and spend a couple of days in a place very sacred to the indigenous populaDSCN3246tion.  At Mutawintji, there is evidence of continuous aboriginal settlement for thousands of years. The area was apparently a meeting place for many of the kinship groups around and the spectacular gorges and rock formations are very special.  The Homestead Creek campsite was nearly deserted-this time of year would normally be too hot to contemplate staying-but it was just lovely and I even needed the sleeping bag at one point during the night.  There was a full moon and a lovely Australian version of a trekking guide even helped put up the tent and bought me a cuppa in the morning. What more could a woman want?

DSCN3253The Park is home to emus, wallabies, lizards and four species of kangaroo including the endangered Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby.  Not sure if we saw any of the latter but we saw heaps of the other fauna.  A wonderful wedge tail eagle soared, to the west appropriately, as we started the Western Ridge Trail and flocks of almost luminescent budgerigars snapped past in formation.  Fabulous.

Tragically, the Park is also home to thousands of feral goats.  Trapping them is not even touching the sides of the problem and I do wonder what will happen. On our walk into the Mutawintji Gorge, a really special place with a permanent waterhole, you would not touch the water which is more a goat poo sludge than water I think.

I  love the colours of our Outback and so today’s arrangement (my Monday Mindfulness thing for the new readers)  is a celebration of thoseDSCN3285 fabulous colours. (Observant readers will spot a beloved shaligram in there too!) I found the gumnuts on runs or they are from trees in our garden and I especially love the little yellow ones that look like they have been piped from the icing bag.  (That was a very slow run that morning)  I’DSCN3256ve made earrings from the orange ones in the past and naturally feeling a Mutawintji necklace coming on.  Unfortunately, to be truly authentic, it will HAVE to incorporate polymer goat poo.  But that could still be decorative.  I’ll keep you posted.

And I haven’t forgotten the necklace draw.  Stand by for results! But don’t fear, the winner won’t be getting a faux poo necklace.